This year, brands are increasingly bringing shopping experiences online.
However, when businesses develop strategies online, they may find that starting a full fledged ecommerce website is easier said than done. While many tools make this process easier than it has done in decades past, starting a successful online store still requires time, money, a web strategy, and a handful of other resources that smaller businesses may not have.
Fortunately, tech giants like Facebook are actively rolling out tools designed to help smaller brands convert social media followers into customers.
One of the newest e-commerce tools from the Facebook company is called Facebook Shops. According to Facebook, businesses with shops can easily create a “mobile shopping experience for their audience”. But what exactly does this experience look like?
In this post, I’m going to show you what Facebook stores are and how marketers can use them to grow sales on social media in 2020 and beyond.
What are Facebook Shops?
Facebook Shops is a free tool that allows business page administrators to create a Facebook or Instagram-based mobile-friendly online store that highlights products or collections of items.
According to Facebook, setting up a shop is easy and can be done on a desktop. Once a shop has been created, followers of Facebook or Instagram business pages on desktop or mobile platforms can visit the same Universal Store and make purchases using the app they are in.
In addition to being linked to business pages on Instagram and Facebook, shops can also be integrated into the messenger of a Facebook business account or a WhatsApp business account, so that the public can make purchases on all major Facebook platforms.
Below is a short demo video that shows what a Facebook shop looks like for customers on a Facebook-owned platform and how they can use it to make purchases.
Why Facebook started business
Even before 2020, brands were looking for ways to make online sales scalable. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for digital transformation grew even greater when many brick and mortar stores were forced to close or postpone their offerings online.
According to a Facebook announcement, the landscape was a motivating factor for starting shops in 2020.
“Right now, a lot of small businesses are struggling and with stores closing, more and more are trying to get their business online. Our goal is to make shopping seamless and empower everyone from small business owners to global brands to connect with customers using our apps, “Facebook noted in an announcement. “That’s why we’re launching Facebook shops and investing in features in our apps that inspire people to shop and make it easier to buy and sell online.”
Now that you know what Facebook Shops are and why Facebook started the tool, you might be interested in using it for your own business.
In that case, below is a quick step-by-step guide on how to set up your first Facebook store.
How to use Facebook Shops
1. Make sure you have met all of the Facebook store requirements.
While creating a Facebook Store is free for all businesses, Facebook Stores still have some requirements. To set up a Facebook store for your brand, you need to:
- Have a Facebook Business Page and / or Instagram Business account that you have Business Manager admin rights to.
- Have manager rights to your brand’s Facebook catalog.
One thing to keep in mind is that while you need to manage either an Instagram or a Facebook business page, you can have one or the other and still create a Facebook store. This means that you don’t necessarily need a Facebook Business account to use this tool.
2. Go to the Facebook Commerce Manager to access Facebook Shops
To start setting up your Facebook store, go to the Facebook Commerce Manager and click the large Get Started CTA at the top of the page. From there you will get some attitude-related questions such as: B. Choose how you want customers to make purchases.
At this point, you can link to an ecommerce website or API that has already been set up and instruct customers to buy your items, or let them buy items directly through Facebook, Instagram, or direct messages.
3. Add business information.
In this step of the shop creation, Facebook asks you a few questions about your company, e.g. B. What category it belongs to, what location and your preferred contact information. You can also include a general business description at this step.
4. Add your products and shipping information.
If you continue to follow the simple instructions from Facebook Shops, you will be prompted to add products either individually using a simple product list form or in bulk using a spreadsheet list upload:
After adding products, you can add or update product descriptions, images, or other important information. You can also enter shipping information.
While Facebook Shops will ask you to add products before starting your shop, you can add, remove or edit product lists later.
5. Add banking and tax information.
If you don’t have an ecommerce store and want to make all of your sales on Facebook or Instagram, you will be asked to provide information about the bank account that your purchase proceeds will go to.
You’ll also need to provide your business tax information and agree to Facebook shop policies before setting up your shop.
6. Customize your shop.
Once all of the logistical information has been entered, you are ready to take the fun and creative step of creating your mobile business. With Facebook Shops you can make fundamental changes to the layout and style of your shop. If you make changes, e.g. B. adapting text styles or button colors, these are displayed on a mobile preview screen on the right.
Here’s a look at the deal customization page. As you can see, even for marketers with less design experience, it is simple and easy to understand.
7. Edit products or group them in “Collections”.
Did you make a mistake with one of your product descriptions or do you need to add a new product recording? With Facebook Shops, you can edit or remove product lists even after your mini-store has started.
If you have products that were launched together or with a similar theme, e.g. For example, a line of summer clothing, you can group products in Facebook stores as “Collections”. To add a “Collection”, simply click “Layout” on the “Store Customization” page, then click “Add Collection” in the “Featured Collections” sidebar.
Once you have created a collection, you can add products from the Collection page or by editing the list of products.
8. Start and promote your shop.
When you think your shop is up and running, publish it. If you do, share it on Facebook, Instagram, or other social media platforms to make sure you get first-time visitors.
Which brands should you watch out for in Facebook shops?
Facebook stores may be a great option for brands that are new to ecommerce or looking to expand their strategy to major social networks.
In the case study video below, a small print brand called Ink Meets Paper shows how stores have helped them expand their ecommerce strategy while generating sales from Instagram and Facebook followers with little effort.
While Facebook stores and other ecommerce platforms can be beneficial to your brand and sales, there are a few more things to consider before launching any online store or service:
- Promote the shopping experience: If the audience doesn’t know about your products or your brand, they may not find your Facebook store or ecommerce platform. Because of this, it is important to promote your store, product offerings, and brand as you would any other online store.
- Prepare for high demand: If you have a great list of products, people could be in a hurry to buy them. However, if your team can’t respond quickly enough to customer requests, late orders or other shortcomings can cause buyers to avoid your Facebook store in the future. Prepare to respond to good shopping and high demand and poor results.
- Brand consistency is still important: Although Facebook Shops exist on a social media platform, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stay on the brand. If the style, images, and layout of your Facebook store are unprofessional or inconsistent with your website or Facebook Business Page, people may be suspicious of the website or less willing to share their payment information with your store.
As you develop or revise your overall ecommerce strategy, bookmark this ultimate guide to ecommerce. If you want to learn more about how brands are moving to ecommerce in 2020, check out this article.